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Porcupine Tree - In Absentia CD (album) cover


Porcupine Tree


Heavy Prog

4.26 | 2619 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars This is another good offering from Stephen Wilson and the boys. Those expecting the gorgeous textures of 'The Sky Moves Sideways' though, may be in for a disappointment. There are a couple of tracks in that vein, but in general, this is a far more straightforward, rock/pop album, admittedly with superior harmonies and playing. 'Blackest Eyes' starts off almost the same as 'Show Don't Tell', the opener on Rush's 'Presto'. The guitar is heavier here though. Then comes an abrupt change into a song which could almost grace the charts in its melodic simplicity. A nice way to start. 'Trains' likewise is permeated with leanings towards jangly Brit pop, but again has a nice melody. 'Lips Of Ashes' is excellent, atmospheric, and almost a throwback to 'The Sky Moves Sideways'. Beautiful song with echoey, melodic backing. 'The Sound Of Muzak' returns to the chart style exemplified by the first two tracks. Again, it is nice but not extraordinary. This, however, is followed by one of the best, if not the best track on the cd. 'Gravity Eyelids' again harks back to earlier albums, with lovely backing and a slow, melodic groove. Classic Tree this one. 'Wedding Nails' is one of the two tracks I like the least on the album. It is too heavy for my liking really, although it is not an inferior piec of music. An instrumental, it powers along nicely, and I suspect the younger fans will like this. 'Prodigal' has excellent slide guitar work in it, and is again a slowish song, which is the type of song this band does best, for my money. Dusty roads came to mind for me when I heard this, and it is quite old fashioned in a way, harking back to the seventies. Very good though. 'The Creator Has A Mastertape' is quite weird in a way, neither the best, nor the worst song here. Nothing outstanding, but not particularly weak either. 'Heartattack In A Layby' is sparse, yet effective. Again, it is a slow piece, quite morbid really, yet it has a warm, almost choral feel to it. I like this one. 'Strip The Soul' is, as you may have already guessed, the other track I am not keen on. Too heavy for me this, and strangely lacking in melody. I applaud Wilson however, in his desire to experiment. I would rather he produced something like this than played it safe by becoming repetitive. 'Collapse The Light Into Earth' closes the album on a quiet, piano-led note. Slightly repetitive, it is still a decent offering to end with. I have the European Version, which comes with a bonus disc. 'Drown With Me' has nice acoustic guitar, and is quite good. 'Chloroform' continues in a typical Tree mood. The third track is, unfortunately, only the video edit of 'Strip The Soul'. Still worth having this disc though, if you can get hold of it. A good album, but a long way off their best. I hope they don't go too far down this louder, grungier road. It still has all the hallmarks of a top band however. A worthy disc for most collections.
chessman | 3/5 |


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